Over March Break, I took my son to Mexico for ten days. Now that we’re finally in the groove of being in back-to-reality-mode, my five-year old is in total shock. In fact, he needs to be rewired. Which is understandable. ‘Vacation Mommy’ is so much different than regular old every day Mommy.
Vacation Mommy will do anything to avoid any kind of tantrum. So Vacation Mommy is super-fun! I barely batted an eye when we were having breakfast one morning on vacation and my son ordered ‘A side of bacon with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, please’ for breakfast. Vacation Mommy just thought, ‘Whatever. As long as you’re getting something in that little belly. Oh, and as long as you don’t cry.’
The only other thing my son ate during our vacation was mint chocolate chip ice cream bars and peanut butter sandwiches. Vacation Mommy honestly didn’t give a crap what he ate, as long as he ate. Some – alright, most – days, he’d have three peanut butter sandwiches and three – okay five – mint chocolate chip ice cream cones a day. He was in heaven!
Upon our return, when he had to hear the words, ‘It’s time to go to bed,’ the poor dude looked at me like he was trying to figure out high school calculus, with an expression that said, ‘Bedtime? What the hell is bedtime?’
For nine nights, he had no bedtime, because I knew we didn’t have to wake up to do anything. Plus, Vacation Mommy was never in the mood to go through the whole, ‘You need to go to bed,’ routine that always leads to a tantrum. Vacation Mommy will pretty much do anything to avoid all tantrums. I mean, after all, I was on vacation too, and I needed a vacation from tantrums and tears.
Bacon and ice cream for breakfast on vacation? Sure! Why not?
When we got home, my son faced the harsh reality that he not only had to eat a healthy breakfast, which includes – OMG – fruit, but he now had a set bedtime again. Yup. Regular old Mommy was back! Of course, he had a tantrum. Of course, I wanted to lose my mind! But my five year-old needs to be asleep by 8:30 now that he’s back, or he wakes up a cranky little jerk, who whines about how he doesn’t want to go to school. On vacation, he didn’t whine..at all. Why? On vacation, he would stay up until 11 p.m., spending the hours between 8 and 11 p.m on his iPad, while I read in bed. On vacation, we just pass out when we pass out.
Also, when we got back, my son couldn’t understand why he could no longer sleep with me. While I love sleeping with my children, I don’t always want to share a bed with them. Now my poor kid doesn’t understand why he can’t share a bed with mommy every, single night, though he begs and pleads, and wants to know where ‘Vacation Mommy’ has gone. ‘But in Mexico I sleep with you,’ he says, to which I really have no good response but ‘that was in Mexico.’
Coming back to reality was not only a shock to his system, but to his skin as well. Honestly? Over the course of our ten day vacation, I only made him shower three times, and each shower pretty much lasted no longer than two minutes. Sound disgusting? Well, yes, it is. But Vacation Mommy also only showered three times. Why? Because it’s not like he or I had to be around anyone, really, except each other.
Also, the poor kid had to get used to hearing the word ‘No’ again. Because Vacation Mommy doesn’t care if she spoils her kid rotten on vacation. I pretty much did whatever my kid wanted to do, whenever he wanted. Like I’ve said, for this mother, being on vacation, pretty much means I’ll do anything, even if it may be sub-par parenting, to avoid any tears or tantrums at all costs. You want to wear the same shirt three days in a row? Fine with Vacation Mommy. You want to go out on the town in your pyjamas? Whatever, says Vacation Mommy. You refuse to brush your hair? Who cares, thinks Vacation Mommy.
And he also had to get used to me waking him up in the mornings again, which is painful for the both of us. On vacation, he still often got up early, but he would play on his iPad for two hours, patiently waiting for Vacation Mommy to get up. As you can tell, there is no limit on screen time, either, on vacation. Vacation Mommy didn’t go anywhere without bringing his iPad along, even at the beach, so at every meal, he would be playing games while Vacation Mommy could read her book or go shopping or just eat a meal in peace. We were both blissfully happy.
And, yes, even though he is five, and has two perfectly good legs, if he wanted to be pushed in the stroller, I was only too happy to oblige. Yes, he looked pretty ridiculous being pushed around at his age, but the last thing Vacation Mommy wanted to hear is, ‘Can you carry me? I’m T-I-R-E-D!’ Plus, it kept him contained. I would rather push him than run after him, or have to yell, ‘Come back here.’ But now that we’re back to reality, the poor kid only hears, ‘You have two legs. You can walk. And no, I’m not picking you up.’ Which of course leads to a tantrum. Sigh.
Vacation Mommy doesn’t yell at all, so he also had to relearn that Mommy’s voice does have different octave levels and that he will be sent to his room if he misbehaves. I don’t think I yelled at my kid, even once, for ten straight days, which is pretty much a miracle, isn’t it? Well, maybe not so much a miracle since, as I’ve mentioned, Vacation Mommy is all about avoiding tantrums at all costs.
While my son clearly prefers Vacation Mommy, what he doesn’t understand is that I, too, prefer Vacation Mommy, or rather, Vacation Kid. So, while I do feel bad that my kid has to get used to reality again, so do I. So do I.
Do all your parenting rules fly (literally and figuratively) out the door when you vacation with your kids? What’s the one thing you allow them to do on vacation that would never happen at home? Can you beat ice cream and bacon for breakfast?
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